Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Swinging

I had an urge this morning to run outside and swing on the swing-set next door. I love this time of year when each day something else pops into bloom. Never mind that last weekend we had 80 degrees F on Friday, and snow flurries Saturday. We expect that around here, though we are always surprised when it happens.
So back to the swinging. Many people, myself included, want to be outside when the weather starts to warm up.and there are so many things to do outside. I have been playing in my garden, getting it cleaned up, planting seeds, and transplanting some plants. I am done with that for now, and looking for other things to do.
I just got a job working with kids in a virtual school system (I am an occupational therapist). Since I haven't worked with school kids for several years, I have been reading up on therapy with kids to refresh my memory. Kids (and adults) with ADHD and related disorders tend to focus better when they get sensory input throughout their body first- things like running, jumping, climbing, pushing, pulling, rolling on the ground, etc. So my brain has been swirling with active kid-friendly activities, and I thought "swinging!" That used to be a favorite when I was a child, and I have done it off and on as an adult as well.
Swinging is actually a pretty good exercise, if you think about it. You lean back, extending your arms, supporting your upper body suspended from your arms, while your legs stretch out, putting your whole body in one long line. Then you quickly come to a sitting position, using your abdominal and arm muscles, and swing your lower legs back under you. Repeat over and over, flying high up into the sky. Feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, you are young once again.
Swinging is not as easy for me as it once was. I have bursitis in my hip.and swings these days seem to all be of the sling style, which press on my hip.I enjoy them anyway, in small doses. Other outdoor children's games and equipment that lend themselves to adult exercise include:running, skipping, jump rope (excellent cardio exercise), hula hoop and a variety of ball games. Bars and rings can be used, depending on height and positioning, and monkey bars are fun to climb (though the last time I tried, I found out that I had developed a fear due to my bifocals distorting distances. When was the last time you heard about someone with bifocals climbing on monkey bars?
Remember what your mother used to tell you, "Go outside and play". Go to a park. Take your children, or grand children, or dog or friend, or by yourself, just go. Play. Have some fun, and get some exercise while you are at it. Keep in mind you haven't done any of this stuff in a long time, so go slow, Choose activities that you think you will enjoy. and that you think you can safely do, considering how your body is doing that day. Push it a little, but only a little.If you push just a little, you will recover quickly, and want to go back. If you push too much, you will take longer to recover and not want to do it again.
Swing (or hula hoop) into spring!

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